Lady Baltimore Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    8 to 12


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

I am indebted to a Yankee for information pertaining to the origins of some of the recipes in this book. He is John Mariani, the author of The Dictionary of American Food and Drink. He states that there are various stories as to the origin of the famed Lady Baltimore Cake. One has it that it was first conceived by a Southern belle named Alicia Rhett Mayberry of Charleston, South Carolina. It is said that she created it for Owen Wister, the novelist, who described the cake in his “next book” and named the novel itself—published in 1906—Lady Baltimore. Alicia Rhett Mayberry, Mariani notes, maintained in a book titled 200 Years of Charleston Cooking that the recipe came from the Woman’s Exchange at the time Wister wrote his novel.


  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • cups sugar
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • cups sifted cake flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 large or 5 small egg whites
  • Fruit Filling, with almonds
  • Seven-Minute Frosting


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter the bottom of two 8-inch layer cake pans. Cover the bottom of each with a round of wax paper and brush the top of the paper with melted butter.
  • Put the 12 tablespoons butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed while gradually adding 1 cup sugar. Beat until light and lemon-colored. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder. Sift a second time.
  • To the butter mixture, beat in alternately one-third of the flour and one-third of the milk, until all the flour and milk are used. Set the batter aside.
  • Beat the whites until they stand in peaks. Do not beat them until they are dry. Beat the remaining ½ cup sugar into the whites to make a meringue.
  • Fold the meringue into the batter, using large folding strokes. Pour equal portions of the batter into the prepared cake pans. Tap the bottom of each pan on a flat surface to remove air bubbles.
  • Place the pans on the center rack of the oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let stand briefly, then invert the cakes onto a rack. Let cool.
  • Place 1 layer on a flat surface or plate and cover with the fruit filling, smoothing it over. Cover with the second layer. Smear the top and sides with the frosting.